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Faith

Yesterday evening I went to an evening retreat to kick off the Year of Faith with Regnum Christi.  I was invited by someone who saw me going to mass everyday and happened to walk out of mass at the same time as me.  There was a speaker, Lucy Honner, who I found very interesting as she spoke about faith and what the Holy Father says about it.  I even got some notes from it!  She took the word ‘faith’ and broke it to five different sections on what faith must be.  I will share with you what I came back with.  The notes were chicken scratch…perhaps they will make sense to you!

F – Firm Foundation

Faith the rock of my life.

Faith my guiding principle.

Don’t just know and believe in Jesus, believe in His message.

Read Hebrews 11.

Actions of faith must be done with more intent.

Be and sustain.

Faith must become firmer and stronger.

A – Alive and Active

Faith is not passive and for ourselves only.

Gift from God, share and proclaim.

Faith evolves and grows, we must maintain it.

Keep the faith real.

Must leave an impression to others of my witness of faith.

I – Informed

Need exact knowledge of the faith.

Don’t be satisfied with limited information.

Pay attention to the content of our faith.

Remain up to date with realities of faith.

It is hard work, it costs, but opens outr minds.

receive and integrate.

T – Tested and Trialed

Faith is a gift to us, but we will be tested.

Can’t just make faith happen with good intent and good deeds.

Acceptance of ordinary things.

Embracing persecutions.

Read James 1.

Letting go, open to grace.

H – Heroic

Must be a hero of the faith.

World needs witnesses.

Be unafraid to stand up and stand out.

Risk and sacrifice own life knowing God’s presence and that He has a plan.

Faith is assurance of things hoped for.

Often times can be uncomfortable.

Be heroic in the way we pray.

Be heroic in ordinary ways.

Be heroic in relationships with others.

Be heroic in humility.

Be heroic in forgiveness.

Be heroic in the way we are called to serve.

Our creed is a summons and a charge to us.  It is like a national anthem

I hope you can find something that strikes your being in these notes.  I know they are not the best, but it is more than I usually get.  For reading on the Year of Faith, check out the Pope’s Apostolic Letter on the Year of Faith.  It will be good reading I am sure!

So, is your faith as strong and informed as it could be?  What will you do in this year of faith to strengthen yourself in our Lord?

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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Inner Reflection, Retreat Experience

 

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5th Grade Retreat

This evening I was very struck by some amazing young people at the school here.  From about 2pm until 8pm there was a retreat for the (mostly) 5th graders.  I helped out from 5pm and on.  It was amazing the things that some of these kids shared with the others.  They reflected on Advent and Christmas, the true meanings of the seasons.  At the end they made commitments.  To close they all shared something they learned or the commitments that they made.  Earlier they shared their reflections and prayer intentions before dinner.  The faith of some of these kids amazes me.  The moments I had with them reminds me of the passion that I have for youth and retreat work.  I pray that this is something that is in my future as a hopefully to be nun!

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2011 in Inner Reflection, Living Salesian

 

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Silence for a Day!?

Contrary to what some may say, it is possible.  I did catch a couple whispering throughout and there were a couple of moments I found it completely necessary to speak.  That being said, Good Friday was a day were I went though so may different emotions.  As I look back at my journal, it is filled with an abundance of writings…and I don’t exaggerate on the word abundance.  From my journaling, I recall the day.

We did not have to be anywhere until nine in the morning.  It was a wonderful thing indeed!  After prayers and grabbing something to eat, one of the sisters and I headed up the hill to the cemetery.  You see, we are not allowed to go up there alone because of an apparent bear issue (that we have yet to hear about since the mention).  Our animator was kind in letting me go if someone came with.  Yay!

When we met to go up, this sister asked me if I would like to pray the rosary.  We made it through the second decade when we hit the cemetery.  Standing in the cemetery praying the third decade, we both glanced over all the names of the sisters resting in peace there.  It has been a little tradition of mine I started on my first visit there.  This time, I stopped and took a special look at Sr. Rose McShane’s stone on the wall.  This in honor of a special friend of mine who would visit her often.  Finishing the third decade, we turned to head back down to the house. 

The walk up there was wonderful and what I really needed at that moment.  There is complete peace up there and it leaves this beautiful feeling in me.  Walking along with the sister, I felt at home.  Admist that, my mind was all over pondering my vocation.  The walk to the cemetery was awesome.

During the silent retreat part of the day, I wrote in my journal and read.  That was about it with the exception of a nap.  My lunch was a wonderful roll and an apple.  It was very delicious. 

 For awhile now, I have been praying that Jesus would transform me (maybe two months or so) to how He wishes me to be.  When I went down the hill for the Good Friday Service, this was all I could pray as I reflected on my life, most especially since entering.  The service, as was the prior one, was good.  Again, I missed involvement with music.  At my parish as well, the choir I was involved with did the Good Friday mass.  Despite that, it was good to again be surrounded by the sisters.

We had the stations of the cross up the hill in our chapel with our community.  My prayer in that was simply to have Jesus bring me on His journey.  To have Him reach my heart and fill my soul with His love was what I had wanted.

That evening, we had a chance to go to a Tenebrae.  I am not sure I had gone to one before, though I have gone to something similar at Christmas.  One sister and a companion of mine were the only ones to go.  It was a good chance to reflect on the scriptures and through music. At the beginning we were all to take a nail.  When we went up to venerate the cross, we dropped the nail into a basket at the foot of the cross.  It was a powerful symbol to me.  So many things came across my mind in staring at that one nail. 

At the end of the day, I thanked Jesus over and over for all the opportunities I had to be with Him in special ways throughout the day.  Who ever knew a silent retreat could be so loudly fruitful?

 

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Mass to Cemetary to Adoration

Today was a day of a few good things.  For me, this was great since the last week has been a little harder.  Mass this morning was a success.  We had the little aspirant band plus a sister.  My musical fellow companion has really got me to enjoy playing at mass again.  We work real well together.  I always wonder if she knows how much I look up to her; also how much I want to make sure she is alright and like to take care of her if she needs anything.  Needless to say, mass was wonderful and she is amazing.

We had a half day silent retreat today.  What that means for us is going about the afternoon how we choose, but in silence.  I started my bit, after we all prayed the visit together, with a walk.  I wandered my way up to the cemetery, where I love to go to just be, think, ponder, reflect, and such things.  I sat on the ground at the foot of the cross part of the graves in the wall.  Leaning against the wall, it was an interesting feeling to know that the bodies of many sisters lay behind me in there, as well as in the ground in front of me on either side of the little path.  As I was journaling, this is the poem that came to me.

Past Sisters at my Side

Among past sisters I sit

Praying the best I have

For much wisdom lays here

In this holy ground forgotten

Maybe they will hear my cry

The tears shed in this place

In comfort myself let loose

To those who will to me listen

So I come here and pray

That they are with my Lord

Enjoying paradise in heaven

Laughing, talking with Jesus

I ask always for intercession

To guard and protect this soul

Throughout each and every day

For they too, have their stories

Perhaps just like my very own

That they may understand

Sitting with them here, now

I pray they see who I am

That they may help me to see

To become that special person

In their comfort I do give

All of myself to God’s will

As I leave their resting place

I pray they are at my side

It was very good to be up there in the cemetery.  When I got back down, I curled up in another aspirant’s really comfy and warm blanket until adoration.

At adoration tonight, I got to do the exposition and reposition, as I had written about yesterday when I learned how to do it.  There was something different I felt in me, even though most of me felt the same.  It was what I needed at this time and I could not have asked for better timing to be asked to do it tonight.  Thank you Jesus for giving me the chance to share you with this community.

 
 

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Thanksgiving Joy with the Salesians!

These past few days have been such a blessing.  All the sisters in the province were here for Thanksgiving and an assembly to discern a new provincial.  I absolutely loved talking to all the sisters and wish I could keep them here with me.  I was supposed to get (and I am sure someone here has it) the e-mail of one sister to share in retreat ideas/files.  Then there is another I talked with about backpacking and camping and canoeing.  If ever possible, we are going to do it some day (you know…in that far off distant time).  I had so many wonderful conversations and shared my story as well as hearing theirs.  It was beautiful. 

While I was in adoration today, this poem came to my heart and filtered through my hands. 

Thank You Salesians, I’ll Be There!

Sitting down in silence to pray

Jesus ever present on the altar

I scan my eyes across the people

Grey and white fills near and far

Women who devout their whole life

To doing the will of God all around

Serving the youth of our growing world

Sharing joy where none is found

The unsurity that tries to creep in

Now is chased out and kept away

Inspiration and hope now fills me full

With such love to last many a day

These women with much experience

Are here with us to help and guide

I long to be like them if God wants

This to you I need now to confide

My heart beats so fast each time

And a huge smile shines on my face

Every time I talk of being Salesian

And my longing to be in this place

So thank you Sisters now and forever

Your wisdom is beyond any compare

Keep that light shinning so bright

And you can bet I’ll be there!

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2010 in Creative Corner, Living Salesian

 

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A Goon full of Roses in the Arms of Christ

This post is one that has taken time and thought to explain what can never be explained fully.  Those who will understand the full capacity may be few, but could be more than I think.  There are some who have experienced this with me, and a couple who know me so well they can understand anything from me.  They may or may not have taken me forever to compose.  Either way, I hope this profoundly influences you or at least brings you to think a little harder about your faith.  (please note: pictures were found online, none of them are ones from what I am about to tell you).  This is a tad longer than my usual posting, but this one is extraordinary.

Since I have gotten here with the Salesians, something has most definitely felt right for this time being.  At the same time, though, there have been things trying to throw me off course and lead me astray.  On the eighth I was drawn to wanting to start the novena to Saint Therese.  Since my Pieta mentioned praying it the ninth to the seventeenth, I decided I would start that next day.  The novena was being said for clarity of my vocation and reassurance that this is indeed where I am supposed to be, at least for now anyways.  In case you did not know, Saint Therese promised to send a shower of roses upon the earth.  In saying the novena, she responds with a rose or some roses that come across your path.

 

Day one of the novena.  When I walked into the laundry room, there on the table with the clean clothes and some sewing machines was a bucket.  It was not just any ordinary round mop bucket with handle, but rather one that had a single huge rose sitting in it.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  Really, how could it be that a rose could already appear on the first day of this novena?!  I was most definitely beyond myself at this point.  When I started the novena, I had made the point to myself for this to be a private thing, but I could not help but share this with some of the other aspirants.

Day two of the novena.  I was not sure what to think after day one.  Part of me expected that what I had seen the day before was all that Saint Therese was going give me.  Then there was something I was not sure I could count.  We were watching the movie Adam.  In there, he had some roses he was bringing to give someone.  He stuck them in his coat to keep them safe (he never did, in the end, give the roses to her).  I was drawn to them, of course.

Day three of the novena.  We went to Stony Point to the Marian Shrine.  There was much to wander around and see while there.  To end our visit there, we went into the chapel that is there to pray our visit before heading back home.  In front of the altar was a beautiful, full, colorful bouquet of roses.  It surely made me smile. 

Day four of the novena.  So you know when you walk down one hallway and someone walks down the other hallway crossing your hallway, there is a limited amount of time that you actually could possibly pass each other.  So Sr. Colleen was walking with her mom one way from her office to her room and I was on the way to my room.  She happened to bring a huge bouquet of roses with her that her mom had brought here.  They ended up at the front dinner table that evening in celebration of someone’s birthday.

Day five of the novena.  By now I am starting to go a little more crazy and just not understanding completely what is really taking place.  At some point during the day, I walk into the aspirant community room and stop dead in my tracks, dropping my keys on the floor.  There sitting on one of the computer desks were some roses and some petals from them laying on the desk.  I just stood there semi shocked and semi not sure what was going on.  Halfway through at this point, I could really expect nothing.

Day six of the novena.  So the day is as normal and what not.  I went into Italian as usual with the sigh of here we go again, I really need another way to help me study here and I hope she does not ask me any hard things.  Partway through the class I notice on the table near the door, there was a vase with two roses in it.  I lean toward Megan and pointed them out.  We could not help but laugh.  There also were roses all over this YouTube video I watch, not to mention the ones for Sr. Kim’s birthday.  Mentioning all these incidences of the past days so far to Sr. Colleen, she asked me why I as saying the novena.  To my response she called me a good and reminded me of where I was found in the bathroom…the source of my vocation.

Day seven of the novena.  In the morning, I found out that God and Saint Therese have a wonderfully beautiful sense of humor.  My assistance in the morning is down in the locker room where the high schoolers are.  When everyone is kicked out to class, I go around locking the bathroom that is just outside the area, as well as turning lights off and locking the doors of the locker room.  When I went into the bathroom to turn the lights off and lock it, I found something.  There sitting on the floor so nicely in the middle of the bathroom was a single rose petal.  At that point, I really knew I was going crazy.  How in the world could this be was the question in my mind.

Day eight of the novena.  Not that I was already feeling like I was going crazy at this point, this day topped it off for sure.  It was our quarterly day retreat that was combined with the SDBs (our brothers of the Salesian Family).  I thought for sure there would have to be a chance of a rose here.  It was not that I was looking for one purposely, but rather that when you have received them thus far seven out of seven days, some part of you can not help but anticipate what is coming (yes, I know…participate don’t anticipate).  The first thing is that someone pointed out to me that there was a brother who was reading her book.  Sure, maybe it can count, but it is something that I had for the day.  The second thing came from when we were at mass.  Bear with me here.  I was looking at the huge Crucifix that hangs about altar.  From what I could tell, it was marble.  On the left side, the “cloth” wrapped around Jesus hangs out to the side.  There is a bigger piece kind of going downward and then a smaller one kind of straight-out/up a little.  That little part I kept seeing as a white rose.  I knew it was not as I have seen this chapel before and know it is just the “cloth.”  The thing is, I could not get out of my mind that it is a rose.  I was think many things, “am I crazy and just seeing what I think could be true,” “is this just what I want myself to see,” and “is this exactly what Saint Therese wants me to see.”  During consecration, I cried a tear or two when the host was held up, as well as when the cup was held up.  That is so unusual for me.  I ended the day not know what to think.

Day nine of novena.  This the last day, I was not sure what would happen after the prior day.  When I got up in the morning I knew I had to say the novena right away so that I could go through the day at ease.  I prayed that I just needed one more concrete sign, one more thing, that could really show me that this is now where God wants me.  I said that I know all these roses have been brought to my attention, but just one more will show me that I am supposed to be here, just one more.  This was my prayer because I am not sure how to comprehend what had happened the past days.  The day went on by and nothing.  On Sundays we have adoration in the community.  After the Exposition song, I moved over from where I was (as I was leading) into the main pews.  The first thing I saw was the one red rose in the new bouquet that was place in front of the altar below Jesus.  After prayers, I went and stood in front of the altar staring at that one rose.  There were others around, but all pink and ones that have been there.  Here it was, one red rose.

In that evening prayer of adoration that I just mentioned, I had picked a song that I love to use for exposition.  While this song has always meant something for me and I have always got something out of listening to it, the song hit me in such a different way.  This was, also, before I even noticed the rose.  Take a listen and you may understand why I am so drawn to it and that it hit me is such a strong way.

So, this the days of my novena.  Being that it is now past the last day of the novena, I have had some time to reflect on what has happen. For now, I will let you mull this over.  Keep an eye out for a post about what has come to follow.  This has been something hard for me to comprehend and to explain.  The words I gave you here can not possibly justify what I feel inside with all of this.  Be inspired.  Remember that you are loved and God is watching over you always, ready to protect you.  Peace.

 
 

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A Salesian Vocation: A Very Abridged Version

The diocese of Paterson wants to have a mini autobiography of us in formation, so I have decided to share the paragraph I typed up just to give a very brief glimpse of my vocation story thus far.  The story can be expanded many pages I am sure, but this is the space we had to work with.  Read and enjoy!

Did you know that God can find you in the bathroom?  I always figured that God could do whatever He wanted to get a hold of whomever He wanted.  You see, I had never actively searched out religious life in such a way that I was sure it was my call in life.  My sophomore year of college was when I started to be open to whatever God wanted me to do in terms of vocation: married life, single life or religious life. This began from seeing a sister wearing a habit and developing a curiosity of what it would be like to live that life.  Over the years, my interest and curiosity stuck with me though I never did much about it, except the rare occasion that I would talk with my friends.  Graduation from college came along and I moved myself the following year to New Jersey from Minnesota to do something I love.  I was the volunteer intern at a retreat center that I discovered, via God, on the eleventh page of a Google search.  It turned out to be the perfect place for me!   When November came along, the director and I with four youth headed out for the National Catholic Youth Conference.  During my time there that weekend, I had my encounter with God in another very odd place.  While on my way out of the bathroom, I started to talk with two young women.  We stood in the bathroom sharing things about our lives.  As I was very quick to discover, they were a part of the Salesian Sisters.  When they first mentioned their apostolate to the youth, my mind and heart were spinning.  It was exactly what my life was filled with already.  I worked at a camp many summers, was currently working at a family retreat center and loved my faith immensely.  All I could think was “no, no, no, no, no!”  It was real and it made me excited, yet scared.  I tend to say that it took many visits to the convent, only two and half hours from where I was working, and a lot of encouragement from friends to make my decision to enter.   The truth be told after I look back on the experience, it was at that moment of first meeting the Salesians in the bathroom that my heart knew this was something I needed to try.  I guess I could still say that God worked through my surroundings to keep me on the path He wanted even though deep down he hooked me right away.  My prayer each day is that, God-willing, I am where I am supposed to be.  What else can anyone do but live each day to its fullest for the glory of God?

Inspired?  I am still inspired by my own story when I read it again! 🙂

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2010 in Living Salesian

 

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